Saturday, September 17, 2016

Princely Family Continues Fight for Inherited Land in Czech Republic

The Princely Family of Liechtenstein - or rather the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation - has filed an appeal with the highest administrative court in the Czech Republic concerning the inheritance of 600-hectare plots of land near Říčany located about 20 kilometres from the centre of Prague. About four years ago the Princely Family learned that Prince Franz Josef II was still registered as the owner of almost 100 plots of land near Říčany, and so they applied for inheritance. A district court approved their claim and the plots were subsequently transferred to the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation in the land register.

When the Czech state became aware of the transferal of land, they filed a lawsuit against the Foundation as they believed it to be unlawful based on the Beneš Decrees, which dispossessed Germans - everyone who spoke German was considered German - and Hungarians off their properties following the Second World War except for those who themselves suffered under the Nazis. Both the first and second instance decided in favour of the Czech state. 

Prince Constantin, in his capacity as head of the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation, now clearified, "This is not a restitution procedure as we haven't made restitution claims. These proceedings are about us being the owners of land according to the land register and a confiscatory complaint claiming these plots by the Czech state." The youngest son of Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie eleborated that the Foundation has also brought evidence before the court that Prince Franz Josef II has never declared himself a German though they do not intend to file lawsuits about the land the family was dispossessed of during the 20th century.

The Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs of the Czech Republic argues that the Foundation could not inherit the property that the state confiscated before and that the fact that Prince Franz Josef II was still the registered owner of the land until 2013 was merely an oversight by the officials. They did not elaborate why it was possible for the Foundation to apply and be granted inheritance of the land in 2013.

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